Take a moment to Smile

Update: We can continue to Smile, as Kaelyn Alecto reports, “Thanks to many insanely amazing donations I have been able to keep my sim open! Come on by and pay a visit and have fun exploring :)” – so please go along and visit!

It All Starts With a Smile
It All Starts With a Smile

As I’ve mentioned in these pages a number of times,  I tend to use the Photogenic Spots section of the Destination Guide as a reference when looking for places to visit in SL. One of the places listed there is It All Starts with a Smile, located on Onyx Isle, the Homestead region of Kaelyn Alecto and her SL partner, Maxxster. While I’d frequently made a mental note to visit the region in the past, I’d never quite managed it.

Then I heard by way of Mona Eberhardt and Ziki’s blog that the region may be vanishing around May 15th 2013. This is not because the tier is too high per se, but apparently because the region’s tier is partially underwritten by one of the third-party exchanges (TPEs) hit by the Lab’s recent changes to the SL Terms of Service and the decision to write to all such exchanges and request they cease trading / providing Linden Dollars.

It All Starts With A Smile
It All Starts With A Smile

If this is indeed the case, then it is a shame, because the region is beautifully put together with a keen eye for composition and photography – Maxxster is a photographer himself, and there is a Flickr group devoted to the region.

From the seaside town frontage of the arrival point, complete with carousel and Ferris wheel, you can walk down to a sun-kissed beach, sit on a fading wooden dock or follow a path around the island (or simply climb over the hills behind the shops!) to reach beautiful and restful meadows. There are beauty spots scattered across the island where you can sit and admire the view or snap away with the camera to your heart’s content. Romantics are also catered for, with places to dance, places to sit and cuddle and corners to snuggle in and hide from the world – there is even a cute little caravan with a blanket and pillows spread on the roof, hitched to a sporty little Mini!

It All Starts With A Smile
It All Starts With A Smile

In short, this is a place designed to bring a smile to your face – and keep it there; which makes its potential removal from Second Life all that more poignant. I don’t – as I hope the destination reviews in this blog demonstrate – run with the “sim deathwatch” crowd; while SL undoubtedly has its problems, there are still many fabulous places left to visit. Even so, when it comes to one which is as beautifully presented as It All Starts With a Smile, then its possible passing is to be lamented.

I only wish I’d visited sooner.

It All Starts With A Smile
It All Starts With A Smile

P.S.  there is a donations piggy bank at the landing point, and as the saying goes, “Every little helps,” so if you do pop in to have a look around, a few L$ dropped into it would likely be appreciated and might even help keep the region going…

Related Links

It All Starts With A Smile
It All Starts With A Smile
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Kitely Market opens for merchants

Kitely-logoOn Saturday May 11th 2013, Kitely announced they are opening their new Market to merchants so that the latter can start to build their stores.

The move comes five months after Kitely first announced they would be developing the Market (see my report from January 2013), and marks a further significant step forward in Kitely’s plans to establish a web-based marketplace which will initially allow merchants to sell products to other Kitely users, but which it is hoped will eventual be available to users across multiple grids.

The Market will combine features familiar to those used to using the SL Marketplace or markets such as the (now defunct) Apez and Metaverse Exchange: items can be browsed on-line, then purchased (using Kitely Credits (KCs) or US dollars), prior to being delivered directly to the purchaser’s in-world inventory in a similar manner to SL’s Direct Delivery mechanism. Additionally, the Market will function more like e-commerce sites such as Amazon, where items can be searched for using attributes as well as a category hierarchy, making the search process and drill-down easier and more flexible for both merchants and consumers.

The new Marketplace button on the Kitely toolbar
The new Marketplace button on the Kitely toolbar

The Market is accessed via a new shopping cart button which appears on the main toolbar which is displayed when users are logged-in to Kitely. Once the Market is fully open, the button will allow users to start browsing stores and goods. However, until then, the button will display an introductory message which explains that access to the Market is currently limited to merchants wishing to create a store.

The blog post provides detailed instructions to merchants on creating their store, using the store home page, and managing, editing and modifying products and listings. Additionally, Kitely are also providing on-line documentation for the Market, which provides information on important aspects of the Market such as product pricing options and listing guidelines.

Adding products to a Kitely Marketplace store - image courtesy of Kitely
Adding products to a Kitely Marketplace store (image courtesy of Kitely)

The Market also enables merchants to include multiple variations of a product within a single listing. So rather than having 5 individual listings for an outfit which is available in 5 different colours, a merchant will be able to create a single listing for the outfit, which includes the 5 different colours. The merchant will also be able to define individual prices, permissions and search attributes against each variation, if required.

One item which merchants will not initially be able to sell through the Market is OAR files.

“You can’t sell OAR files directly,” Ilan Tochner, Kitely’s CEO said, “but you’ll eventually be able to sell entire Virtual Worlds so instead of just having the two virtual world templates we offer you now when you create a new world, you’ll be able to find and buy the perfect virtual world for the activity you have in mind. Once you buy that world a new world will be automatically created inside the My Worlds page in your account, at which point you’ll be able to export it to an OAR file.”

Export Permissions

An important element within the Market is Kitely’s new “Export” permissions flag, which is separate to the familiar modify / copy / transfer permissions associated with a product, and allows a merchant to specify whether or not a purchased item can leave the grid. This means, for example, that if a user buys an OAR file for a Kitely world and attempts to save it to their hard drive, only those elements of the OAR file which have the Export flag set will actually be saved – anything which does not have the flag set will be ignored.

Currency Options and Fees

Products in the Market can be sold using either Kitely Credits (KCs), Kitely’s own non-exchangeable virtual currency, or using US dollars (USD), where payments are handled directly via PayPal.

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